Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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GZU donates small grains to drought-prone communities

Melinda Kusemachibi

Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) through part of their research fair has embarked on distribution exercise of fertilizers and traditional grains to various districts in Masvingo Province.
The donations are part of the university’s corporate social responsibility after a workshop conducted at GZU Hebert Chitepo Law School under the theme: Heritage based research and innovation for modernising and industrialising Zimbabwe.
GZU Dean of the Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture Xavier Poshiwa said the seed donation programme would go a long way in enhancing research being carried out on traditional grains in dry land areas.
“It is in line with government policy of modernizing agriculture. We want to promote agro-innovations, new ways of doing things, processing, come up with different products and services to serve communities in dry regions where there is more evaporation than precipitation. We have started with two wards per district.
“We did what we call mapping as we ask farmers what they want to grow depending with their hectares. Under this programme, we gave farmers inputs so that upon harvesting we can have raw materials to process in our grain processing plant. Very soon, you will see our products in the market that is our idea. We are growing together with farmers, teaching them proper ways of farming,” said Poshiwa.
He also said their mission is to substitute the growing of maize with small grains that are drought tolerant.
“We want to come up with different grains which we call traditional grains. Our programme is centered on promotion, processing, production of traditional grains.
“Farmers in dry lands want to grow maize but they fail year after year that is why we introduced traditional grains to avoid crop failure. We are in a drive to promote traditional grains,” he added.
Poshiwa went on to say the main idea is to promote development in dry lands of Masvingo province.
“The main objective of the Agro-innovations in dry lands programme is to, on one hand, promote innovation, research and d Dry land are present in each continent, covering over 40% of the earth and are home to more than two billion people.
“They are key to global food and nutrition security for the whole planet, with up to 44% of the world’s cultivated systems located in dry lands. Dry lands across the globe are being affected by the changing climate development that will guarantee food security, job creation and promote a healthy ecosystem in dry lands. On the other hand, it is to ensure that adequate and appropriate heritage based Science and Technology infrastructure is established and utilized to support rural industrialization for improved quality of life for rural inhabitants,” said Poshiwa.
GZU drew inspiration from the realisation that small-scale farmers in the country and the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region face problems to ensure food security due to the semi-arid nature of their areas and thus established the Innovation centre.
The centre will play a key role in ensuring food security for the region at large improve agriculture innovation for economic transformation through harnessing community knowledge for sustainability, natural science and production.

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